Fujiya & Miyagi will be in Miami tomorrow night and it’s been 9 years and 4 studio albums since they’ve made it down to the magic city, like ever. The band is made up of Steve Lewis (Fujiya), David Best (Miyagi), Matt Hainsby (Ampersand) and Lee Adams (Drums) from Brighton, England. I myself am excited to see them especially since they do remind me of two of my favorite bands Broadcast and Stereolab. Their music videos are also very visually appealing so I can only imagine how great their set up is live. Catch them tomorrow night at The Electric Pickle in their first ever Miami performance. Here’s a little chat I had with David (Fujiya) just the other day, enjoy!
Michael Lee: How did you guys discover the styles of music and bands which had an effect on the formative stages of your musical careers and what inspires you now as you all continue to make records?
David: DJ John Peel had a big influence on what I listened to when I reached my teens. I think this is the case for a lot of british people of a similar age. Through him I discovered The Fall, Captain Beefheart and random old soul songs. My love of german music probably came through the same source, and then I just dug a little bit deeper. Now that it is so easy to hear whatever you want via the internet, its more about knowing where to look rather than being pointed in the right direction by somebody else. I am constantly trying to find music I like both old and new and blogs have been an important factor in discovering stuff. I think that now I am more inspired by my own or the other members of the groups ideas than anything outside of us. This is probably due to the constant links to krautrock whenever our name is mentioned. We try and do our own thing.
ML: Will this be your first time in Miami or has anyone in the band visited before?
David: We’ve been to Orlando but never Miami. I like the tv series ‘Dexter’ which is shot in miami as you probably know so scenery wise I have an inkling of what to expect. It’s probably best not to base an opinion on a city through a t.v. show, though.
ML: Best/Worst story on tour? Anyone try to fight you guys or have you ended up in a place you have no recollection of how you got there?
David: No one has ever tried to punch us, which considering some of the US reviews for our last LP is probably quite hard to believe. I’m not that into the rock n roll lifestyle myth, to be honest. Joy Division ate crisps, you know? Once you tour you find out that its not like that at all. maybe it is for bigger groups, I don’t know.
ML: How do you all pass the time on tour?
David: Well, today we are in mexico city and have just walked up two pyramids which was incredible. Often there are no pyramids around so usually I like to find record stores. I’ve heard there is a good one in Miami which i’m hoping i’ll have time to go too. In europe we often fly between shows so there isn’t too much time to explore.
ML: Does the band have a ritual they perform before a show?
David: I go really quiet. Matt sometimes does a dance, which is more of a hop. Steve often stresses out about synths breaking down. I’m not sure what lee does. I’ll check in Miami. We don’t high five each other or pray or anything like that.
ML: What bands are you currently listening to?
David: I am obsessed with Emeralds at the moment, and I love the new mist record too on spectrum spools. The music that I always come back to on tour is Terry Riley’s stuff, Bill Fay’s second LP, Bill Callahan’s new record, 60’s soul and a bunch of turkish music, specifically Baris Mancho’s 2023. Another new discovery for me is a french record from 1975 by a group called the ‘Rob Jo Star Band’. I hear Damo Suzuki, Velvet Underground, Modern lovers and Silver Apples all in there, which looks pretty good written down.
ML: Who would you like to collaborate with live or dead?
David: My all time favourite singer or composer is Serge Gainsbourg. It would have been amazing to see how he put his songs together. He is the main influence on how i try to sing, with the way he phrased words and obviously his whispering style. He also often used unusual subject matter in his lyrics, which I try to do when i’m not repeating idioms continuously.
ML: Do any of you have a side project?
David: Matthew has finished his solo project and it sounds fantastic. He goes under the name of Ampersand. I have done a record with a friend of ours called Sammy from the group ‘Project Jenny, Project Jan‘. It’s called Omega Male. I’m excited for it to come out. hopefully it will be quite soon. PJPJ have just released their album called ‘home sweet home’. You should all buy it.
ML: What jobs did you guys have before doing the band full-time?
David: I worked in the post office for a while, then I worked for a well known american credit card company in Brighton. I adjusted credit limits. I only stopped doing that once ‘transparent things’ started to do quite well. We wrote that album in the evenings and at weekends over quite a long period of time.
ML: Worst thing about being in a band?
David: I’m trying not to be negative at the moment so i’m going to say its all great. Except being away from home for a long time now that I am a father.
*FUJIYA & MIYAGI TICKET GIVEAWAY!!!
20th person to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the correct answer will win 2 complimentary tickets to Thursday nights show featuring FUJIYA & MIYAGI w/ additional sounds by Benton, Will Renualt, Patrick Walsh and Jonathan Brody. Listen up…
Where does Fujiya & Miyagi get their name from and who did they collaborate with on the track, ‘Butterfingers’ ?
Interview by Michael Lee